Friday, November 25, 2011

Can't Stop Eating!!

 Let’s find out how each one of the factors mentioned in my previous blog cause overeating.

1.      Cold Weather
I have deliberately mentioned Cold Weather on the top because winter season is on, and I would like you to take preventive measures of overeating in this season as soon as possible.
 It is this time of year we are eagerly waiting for, “the Winter Season” and the mood is set right to celebrate the much awaited Christmas. Celebrations are directly related to sweets, cookies, candies, cakes, champagnes, desserts; aren’t they?
 But have you ever thought why do we overeat and specifically gorge on sweets in this season? The answer is simple - Since the weather is cold outside, many people cannot resist the temptation of eating more to keep themselves warm. It is a fact that more fat is needed in the body during the winter to keep the body warm. So, people take recourse to having foods high in fat content and this leads them in gaining weight during the winter months.
And mind you, if you are over stuffing yourself with sweet items,specifically carbohydrate rich foods, then might be you are suffering with S.A.D. Seasonal affective disorder, "S.A.D", is a form of depression that occurs only during certain periods of the year. In some cases, an existing depression may become more severe during certain times of year. By far the most common and recognized form of seasonal affective disorder is "winter depression". This is characterized by recurrent episodes of depressed mood, over-sleeping or the urge to "hibernate", cravings for carbohydrate rich foods, and associated overeating and weight gain.
Women suffering from SAD outnumber men by 4 to 1 and the risk of been affected by SAD appears to decrease with age.

2. Lack of sleep increases overeating
A relevant study appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in which young men were given access to set foods after being allowed to sleep for about 8 hours (normal sleep) on one occasion, and 4 hours (sleep restriction) on another. In reality, individuals slept for an average of about 3 hrs 45 mins and 7 hours 15 mins respectively. Hormone levels were not monitored, but food intake was.
After the night of sleep restriction, caloric intake was an average of about 560 calories (22 per cent) higher.
This was a small study and only tested the effect of one night of quite extreme sleep deprivation. However, it is possible that milder forms of sleep deprivation in the long term may also stimulate appetite in a way that could encourage overeating.
Researchers from several separate studies 1 have found a link between sleep and the hormones that influence our eating behavior. Two specific hormones are involved. Ghrelin is responsible for feelings of hunger. Leptin tells the brain when it’s time to stop.
 When you’re sleep deprived, your ghrelin levels increase at the same time that your leptin levels decrease. The result is an increased craving for food and not feeling full. Add the fact that sleep deprived people tend to chose different foods to snack on—mainly high calorie sweets and salty and starchy foods—and it’s easy to see how these small changes can lead to long-term weight gain.                                                                                                                            
Optimal sleep for weight loss
Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. Some more, some less. Very few of us actually get the minimum of seven. How do you know how much sleep you really need? Experts say to sleep as long as you want for several days (best done on vacation). Then, your sleep should stabilize and you’ll find yourself waking up after the same number of hours daily, within 15 minutes or so. Once you know about how much sleep you need, start getting into a steady routine. Set a regular time for sleep. Start getting ready ahead of time. And experts say, avoid using the bed for watching TV or doing work.

Sleep + exercise + a healthy diet = weight loss
Don’t think snoozing a few hours longer each night will solve a weight problem. It won’t. Exercising and eating healthfully is still the way to go. But, lack of shut-eye may soon be considered another risk factor for obesity. Interestingly, many of those who are overweight also don’t sleep enough.
One thing does seem to be clear. When your body is not hungry for sleep, it won’t be so hungry for food either.

  1. Physical Stress
Who does not aspire to be Mr. Bill Gates and bathe in the luxury, day and night? But money is always earned the hard way, which calls for overtime hours at the job, be it in call centres or in your own private office. Sometimes you might even need to skip your meals and some sleepless nights in order to meet the deadlines of your assignments.  This poses physical stress, which if   prolonged, can cause the body to produce too much cortisol which can play a role in craving "comfort" foods, overeating, feeling fatigued, and storing excess body fat.
Roles of cortisol in the body
Cortisol is often linked closely to stress, but in reality it holds several essential functions in the body. The adrenal glands release cortisol to assist in the regulation of blood pressure, the immune system and many other roles. Simply speaking, cortisol is beneficial in low quantities but high cortisol levels may result in an increase of abdominal fat or weight gain, which contribute to heart attacks, strokes and can raise the amount of bad cholesterol and reduce the production of good cholesterol in the body as well.
Moreover, excessive amount of cortisol may reduce bone density, contributing to osteoporosis and deprivation of muscle masses, and in turn decelerate one metabolic rate. It also may accelerate the blood pressure together with other problems.

Can stress cause weight gain?
Every individual responses differently to stress; some will release more cortisol to a specific situation of stress while others do not affected. In addition, high levels of cortisol often cause the affected individual to eat more food, especially carbohydrates. And this eventually will cause weight gain.
In order to prevent your body from releasing excess amount of cortisol, you must find a suitable some way to help you relax and also try to change your lifestyle or learn to live a healthy lifestyle.

Exercising, mediation, yoga, or breathing will help to relax your body and mind.
To be continued...